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Death Penalty Proposals Compete For 2016 Ballot

jitze1942 / Flickr

jitze1942 / Flickr

California voters could see two competing proposals about the death penalty on next year’s ballot, in a sequel to a fight that played out in 2012.

Both sides agree on the problem.

"The state is spending upwards of $150 million a year to maintain a death system that has killed 13 people out of the 900 that have been sentenced to death," says Mike Farrell of Death Penalty Focus.

Farrell is the proponent of a ballot measure to abolish the punishment.

This week, it won $300,000 in backing from Silicon Valley investors, but Farrell says the campaign will need four times that much.

"My hope, my intention is to go forward with it, but we’re not yet ready to say finally that we have pulled the trigger," he says.

In 2012, Farrell supported Proposition 34, another measure to abolish the death penalty, which lost by 4 percent.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert was part of the “No on 34” effort.

"When Prop 34 was defeated, we made a commitment to the citizens of this state that we’re going to fix it," says Schubert. "That’s what we’re here to do."

Schubert is a member of Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings, which has its own initiative. Schubert says the goal is to streamline the process. The new initiative would expedite appeals and make it easier to administer lethal injections.

"There’s those of us that have worked in the trenches for years, if not decades, that recognize that, while it’s broken, it can be fixed and it should be fixed," Schubert says.

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